How to handle a foreign offer letter! Also explains what to do when it's too late!


  • Industry Information

An "offer letter" is not so common in Japanese companies. If an offer letter is mishandled, it can result in the cancellation of a job offer, and it is very important for foreign companies.

In this issue, we will explain how to handle offer letters and what to do if it takes a long time to issue an important offer letter. We will also explain what to do if you receive a counter offer.

Foreign offer letter is a letter of employment

An offer letter is a "letter of employment" issued when a final interview is completed and a job offer is made. The offer letter also describes the working conditions after the job change, and thus also has the aspect of a "notice of working conditions. After the applicant confirms the offer letter, he/she signs and returns the document, which is a formal acceptance of the offer.

Since the offer letter remains as a document rather than an oral promise, it prevents problems after the applicant joins the company.

Caution! Do not sign the offer letter as soon as you receive it.

Do not sign or respond to an offer letter immediately upon receiving it. It is tempting to respond to the offer letter as soon as possible, thinking that not replying to the offer letter will not secure the job offer, but there may be errors in the content. If you sign and return the offer letter despite any discrepancies, you are accepting the working conditions. If you receive an offer letter, please check the contents carefully, and if there are any discrepancies, please contact the company to have them corrected or to receive an answer that is satisfactory to you.

If you are already being considered by another company, you may need to adjust your time schedule. When you receive an offer letter, check the contents carefu

Points to check in foreign offer letters

The offer letter includes the following points to check

  • Salary (annual salary) and incentives
  • Overtime pay
  • Vacations, vacations, and work hours
  • Benefits, retirement rules, probationary period, etc.
  • NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)

We will look at this in detail.

Salary (annual salary) and incentives

Foreign-affiliated companies are generally based on an annual salary system. The annual salary system consists of a base salary and performance-based incentives, the ratio of which varies depending on the company and the type of job. For example, clerical workers are paid a larger percentage of the base salary.

In many cases, annual salary is paid in installments, so it is necessary to confirm how many installments are paid.

Average annual income of 8 foreign companies with the highest average annual income

IT industry

16.23million yen

Financial (Banking) Industry

19.98million yen


11.65million yen

Consulting Industry

13.04万円million yen

Overtime money

The conditions for overtime pay vary from company to company, but in most cases, it seems to cover working hours before and after regular hours, as well as meetings with overseas counterparts outside regular hours with time differences.

Unlike Japanese companies, however, overseas companies do not view overtime work as a virtue. It is important to keep in mind that working overtime may be regarded as poor self-management skills and productivity.

Vacations, Vacations and Working Hours

Check the number of annual holidays, special leave, and daily working hours. Most foreign-affiliated companies do not have the concept of simultaneous vacations such as Obon vacation and year-end and New Year holidays. In many cases, summer and Christmas vacations are provided instead. Since the rate of vacation days is better than that of Japanese-affiliated companies, check the number of days and make active use of them.

Benefits, retirement rules, probationary period, etc.

While the benefits package varies from company to company, foreign-affiliated companies generally do not offer generous benefits. In many cases, the higher salaries do not offer rent subsidies or retirement benefits. You must take these factors into consideration when planning your life.

Also, many foreign companies set the probationary period at 6 months, which is longer than that of Japanese companies. During the probationary period, their performance is checked and they are checked to see if they can fit in with the company culture.

NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)

Because foreign-affiliated companies strictly manage their own technology, sales know-how, and management information, there are cases in which a confidentiality agreement is required before joining the company. In Japan, such agreements are rarely signed before joining a company, so they tend to be taken lightly. However, even casual behavior can be considered a violation and subject to punishment, so make sure you understand the contents of the agreement before signing it.

Negotiate your resignation from your current position only after you have an offer letter in hand!

Do not inform your current employer of your resignation simply by saying, "I will send you an offer letter." The official offer is made when you receive the offer letter, which you sign and return to your employer, and when it is accepted. In rare cases, the offer itself may be rescinded without an offer letter being issued. Therefore, it is better to negotiate your resignation from your current position only after receiving the offer letter.

For foreign companies, it is said that it generally takes about one to one and a half months from the acceptance of an offer to the time of joining the company. The key point is whether or not you can quit your current job within that period. If you are unable to quit as expected, there is a possibility that the company you are changing jobs with will wait for a certain amount of time, but if you delay for too long, there is a possibility that they will rescind the job offer.

If you have already made up your mind to change jobs, it is a good idea to prepare in advance so that you can complete the handover within a month or so, for example, by informally preparing a handover letter before you get the offer letter.

Negotiate the terms and conditions of the foreign company before the offer interview.

An offer interview is a meeting in which HR explains to the offeror the employment conditions and job description outlined in the offer letter. Foreign-affiliated companies basically set up the offer interview only after they have made arrangements with the home country regarding employment. Since the offer interview is a place for final confirmation and coordination between the company and the employer, it is recommended that negotiations on working conditions and other matters be conducted before the offer interview.

Timing of negotiations on terms and conditions

There are three main times to negotiate before the offer interview

  • At the start of the selection process, when the interviewer asks you about your desired annual salary
  • During the second interview - until you receive an offer
  • Immediately after receiving a job offer - before the offer interview

Basically, it is a good time to tell the interviewer when he/she asks you about your desired annual salary. It is not a good impression to make on the interviewer to impolitely tell them the amount of salary you are hoping for. While expressing your gratitude for the amount of money offered, answer the interviewer with your desired amount.

If you are not asked about your salary expectations, you will need to negotiate your own salary, but be careful not to give the interviewer the wrong impression. If you are using a recruitment agent, it is a good idea to let the agent handle the negotiation. An agent with a proven track record will be able to listen to your wishes and negotiate with the company at the best time.

Negotiable Items

The following are the main items that can be negotiated

  • Annual salary and compensation
  • Restricted Stock Unit (RSU)
  • Expected hire date
  • Deadline for responding to offer letter

RSUs are a system whereby a company grants employees company stock as part of their bonus after a certain period of time. In some cases, the number of shares to be granted is negotiable.

In addition, you may need to adjust the expected hire date or the deadline for responding to the offer letter depending on the succession of your current job and the status of your job search at other companies. Although deadlines can be extended, be careful not to extend them too far, as it may not be good for the company's reputation.

Negotiate terms and conditions with evidence.

Negotiate within the bounds of common sense. Offering an amount that is far in excess of what the company has offered you or far from your previous salary may not be acceptable.

Explain why you are requesting an increase in annual salary with concrete reasons, involving your own achievements. Generally speaking, it is said that the annual salary increase should be 1.2 times the amount you were earning before changing jobs.

If a counter offer is made by a current company

In some cases, when you inform your current employer of your intention to resign, you are stalled and a "counter offer" is made. Some people may hesitate to accept a counter offer because it usually offers better conditions than their current benefits, such as a raise in salary or a promotion.

Three points to consider

If you receive a favorable counter offer, consider the following three points

  • Reason for changing jobs and offer details
  • Feasibility of the counter offer
  • Relationship with the company after remaining in the company

Reason for changing jobs and offer details

If the reason for changing jobs is "I can't get along with my boss" or "the working environment is not good," there is no prospect for improvement even if the offer is good, and you will always be dissatisfied with your job even if you stay. If the conditions offered improve your reasons for leaving and you can envision your own career path, then accepting the offer is an option.

Feasibility of counter-offers

The conditions offered are made by the supervisor or HR to keep the candidate from changing jobs. If they are merely verbal promises, there is a possibility that they will not be realized.

For example, there could be a case in which a person receives a counter offer and stays at the company, but the conditions are not reflected in the counter offer, and finally, the promised boss moves on and the promise is reneged on. Verbal promises are difficult to prove, so in the worst case scenario, you may have to start your job search again.

If you receive a counter offer, calmly determine whether the conditions are feasible, and make sure to put it in writing, not just verbally.

Relationship after remaining in the company

If you receive a counter offer and decide to remain in the company, you will be treated more favorably than before. In some cases, people around you may feel uncomfortable because they will see you as a person who once tried to quit but received favorable terms and decided to remain.

If you decide to stay, you must demonstrate results commensurate with the favorable conditions in order to be recognized by those around you. You need to face yourself and decide whether you will be able to work with a high level of motivation at the company you decided to leave.

Three points to note

It is easy to think that your future career will continue to go smoothly when you receive a favorable counter offer, but there are some points to keep in mind.

  • It is not the result of an evaluation.
  • Losing growth opportunities
  • Lose job stability

Not a valued outcome.

If you are offered a raise or promotion, calmly ask yourself, "Why is this the right time? The terms of the counter offer are a way to persuade the company to let you stay. It is for the company's convenience that "it is easier to retain you than to go through the trouble of finding a replacement," and it is not a recognition of your abilities.

However, there is a possibility that the company will give you a raise or promotion as a result of recognizing your achievements and efforts. It is important to determine whether this is a reason to keep you or a recognition of your ability.

Lose the chance to grow.

Some of you may have decided to change jobs with the intention of growing your career and expanding your work. Remaining at their current job will mean missing out on this opportunity to grow.

In addition, at the time of your next appraisal, you may be remembered as "someone who tried to leave = someone who has little loyalty to the company," which may delay future promotions or otherwise prevent you from receiving proper recognition.

Loss of job security

Even if you accept the counter offer and remain with the company, your job security may be shaken. This is because you will be seen as someone with little loyalty who once tried to leave the company.

In the unlikely event that the company goes through a restructuring in the future, you may be the first to be cut.

Respond to offer letters from foreign companies as soon as possible.

The offer letter must be signed and returned upon receipt. This time period is usually said to be 1-2 weeks.

If you are waiting for results from another company, make adjustments

During your job search, you may not have only one company to which you are applying. There may be other companies that are in the process of interviewing and you may want to consider them. Normally, you can ask for an extension of one to two weeks, but if you make a company wait too long, they may rescind their offer.

Extending the deadline for a response does not give a good impression. Always conduct your job search while prioritizing companies, and respond to offer letters as soon as possible after receiving them.

If you are using a recruitment agent, the best solution is to consult with the agent. If you are using only one agent, that agent will be able to coordinate your schedule well while keeping track of the movements of other companies. If you are using multiple agents, consult with your main agent.

You can decline even after receiving an offer letter.

You may have received an offer letter but wish to decline for a variety of reasons, such as wanting to work for another company under consideration. It is possible to decline if you have a good reason and you decline the offer.

If you are using a recruitment agent, simply tell the agent that you are declining the offer. The agent will take care of all the rejections.

What to do when you do not receive an offer letter from a foreign company

We would love to hire you and will send you an offer letter next week." But if you have not received the offer letter after one week, you may be concerned. The following is an explanation of what to do in such a case.

Reasons for delay in offer letter

There are several reasons why you may not receive an offer letter anytime soon, even though it looked like you would get one right away.

  • Approval cannot be obtained because the approver at the head office is away for summer vacation or other reasons
  • The content of the offer is not agreed upon by the head office
  • The need for the position is being discussed due to a sudden change in personnel or strategy, such as a consideration to stop hiring
  • The position is being weighed against other candidates

The following is a list of the reasons for this.

Reminder of offer letter.

The best way to deal with the situation when you do not receive an offer letter is to communicate closely with the company.


For example, you can contact the company and say, "I need to inform my current employer of my resignation by the deadline in order to join the company on October 0," or "The deadline for responding to other companies is approaching, so I need a letter by the deadline. The company will then respond in some way, such as moving a little impatiently or explaining the reason for the delay.

By making contact, we will hear about the company's situation and understand when and how it will be by. If there is no clear explanation from the company and a dull response, there is a possibility that an offer letter will not be finalized.

If you are using a recruitment agent, it is easier to understand the situation because the agent will be in close contact with the company. They will also be able to give you advice from their extensive experience on how to handle this type of situation.

Resume job search

If you are waiting forever for an offer letter because you are not getting a clear answer when you contact a company, you should give up at some point and resume your job search.

There is a possibility that the company will stop hiring, and you may end up not receiving an offer. If you resume your job search while you are still waiting for an offer letter, you will feel more comfortable because you are not starting from scratch in the event that you do not receive an offer.

Check your foreign offer letter carefully! Consult with a professional if you have any questions.

An offer letter is both a "notice of employment" and a "notice of working conditions. An offer letter is not accepted until it is returned and received by the company, so make sure there are no discrepancies in its contents before signing and sending it back promptly.

Negotiating annual salary, timing and delays in replying to offer letters, and other aspects of job hunting for a foreign company are difficult to handle on an individual basis. By using an agent who specializes in working with foreign-capitalized companies, you can confirm your wishes and communicate closely with the company to find the best possible landing spot. By utilizing an agent specializing in foreign-capitalized companies, we hope you will have a smooth transition to a new job.

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